Facilitating the legal admission of professionals, business persons, and skilled workers

Canadian Interests and Significant Benefit to Canada


Certain foreign workers may be eligible for a Canadian work permit in the absence of HRSDC Confirmation of a job offer on the basis of demonstrated benefit to Canada as a result of their employment. These provisions are generally applicable in such cases as the foreign worker would:

  • create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;

  • create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;

  • create or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in other countries;

  • be engaged in work that is designated by the Minister as being work that can be performed by a foreign national on the basis of the following criteria:
    - work related to a research, educational or training program, or
    - limited access to the Canadian labour market is necessary for reasons of public policy relating to the competitiveness of Canada's academic institutions or economy;

  • is of a religious or charitable nature.


The interpretation of these rules results in the classification of applications in this category in the following main categories: Canadian Interests (general);


Canadian Interests (General)

These provisions are generally reserved for cases in which there is a significant social, cultural, or economic benefit to Canada as the result of the admission of a foreign worker. Typically, a case will be better suited for success if evidence of a benefit of more than an economic nature is present; otherwise, immigration officials may be directed to look towards HRSDC confirmation in order to allow for issuance of the work permit.

Entrepreneur/Self-employed Candidates

Entrepreneurs or Self-Employed persons who wish to establish a business in Canada prior or in parallel to, or in the absence of, a Canadian permanent resident application, may be able to seek a Canadian work permit under the provisions of Significant Benefit to Canada. The applicant would be required to demonstrate that the proposed business would generate significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If a permanent resident application has begun for such a candidate, then a compelling reason for urgent admission prior to the conclusion of assessment of such a case would be a factor, as would evidence that the individual has a genuine intent to depart Canada in the case of refusal of the permanent resident application.

The benefit of the prospective clients or customers of the applicant may also be considered in establishing the significant benefit to Canada. This may be especially the case if the proposed business provides unusual goods or services.

The candidate applying under these provisions should possess a minimum of 50% of the business. In the case of multiple owners, only one owner would generally be eligible to apply for a work permit under these provisions. Additional work permit applications would be typically subject to the requirement of Labour Market Opinion Confirmation.

Intra-Company Transferee

Executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge employees of a foreign company may be able to obtain a Canadian work permit without HRSDC Confirmation in order to transfer to a Canadian division (parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) of a foreign company. Business relationships based on contracts, licensing, or franchising agreements are not eligible. The candidate must have been employed by the company for a period of at least one year in the three years prior to the submission of an application.

A requirement of eligibility is that the foreign business and the Canadian business be (or will be) regularly, systematically, and continuously providing goods and/or services in Canada and the foreign country. Exceptions are possible in such cases as the transfer of the applicant is important for the establishment of a new Canadian company, in which case evidence of the viability of the new business should be a factor.

"Senior managers" and "Executives" of a business are eligible for work permits under the intra-company transferee provisions for a period of a maximum of three years, which may be extended from within Canada. Senior managers and executives generally supervise and control the work of:

- other managers and supervisors;

- professional employees, or

- manage an essential function within the organization;

- employees while having the authority to hire and fire, or recommend these and other personnel actions.

Lower level management occupations may not be considered eligible.

"Specialized knowledge" workers are limited to an initial visa of up to one year. This may be extended, however, to a maximum total duration of three years (the exception is for cases under the provisions of the NAFTA Intra-Company Transferee category). Such workers are required to demonstrate uncommon knowledge of a company's product or service and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge in the company's processes and procedures. No requirement that the knowledge be unique or proprietary exists.

Emergency Repairs

Canadian work permits may be issued in the case that emergency personnel are required in Canada to effect repairs to industrial equipment or machinery in order to prevent the possibility of disruption of the employment of Canadian workers. HRSDC Confirmation would be exempted for applicants in possession of satisfactory evidence of the nature of the repairs.

Reciprocal Employment

In cases in which demonstrable reciprocal opportunities exist for Canadain workers abroad, foreign workers may be granted a work permit in Canada without the requirement of HRSDC confirmation. Some established reciprocal opportunities include: international youth exchange programs;

academic exchanges;

cultural agreements;

work related to research, educational or training programs;

public policy, competitiveness and economy (including the spouses or common-law partners of highly skilled workers);

spouses or common-law partners of foreign students;

and, post-graduation employment.

Charitable or Religious Work

Applicants who meet the following conditions may be eligible for a Canadian work permit without applicable professing fees: the individual will not receive remuneration, other than a small stipend for living expenses;

the organization or institution which is sponsoring the foreign worker will not, itself, receive direct remuneration from any source on behalf of, or for, the services rendered by the foreign worker; and

the work goes above and beyond normal work in the labour market, whether remunerated in some manner or not, for example: organizations which gather volunteer workers to paint or repair the houses of the poor may qualify, provided that the work would not otherwise be done, i.e. if the recipients of this work are not able to hire a professional or do the work themselves.

L'Arche, which relies on people to live full-time in a group home with people who have
developmental disabilities; (Workers in the homes are remunerated, but they are committed to taking care of the disabled people on almost a 24-hour basis.)

persons who are giving their time to community or religious organizations in a position which would not represent a real employment opportunity for Canadians or permanent residents. (Such work would entail a requirement to be part of, or share the beliefs of, the particular religious community in which they are working.)

Highly Skilled workers with a high level of French language ability

A foreign national in a highly skilled occupation who is destined to a province or territory outside of Quebec, in cases in which it is determined that the individual’s level of French language capacity is such that they can work and/or contribute to the community in French.



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